Vermont Drug Addiction

Mountains in Vermont

Beautiful, green and remote Vermont, nestled up against Canada in the far north of the United States, seems far off the main drug trafficking channels of the United States. Unfortunately, this remoteness doesn’t keep drugs, alcohol, and addiction from being a problem to the citizens of the state.

Much of the drugs channeling through the area are trafficked in by users who are trying to finance their own addictions. They drive to distribution points in New York, Boston, New Jersey or Connecticut, or a more enterprising individual makes the long haul to the American Southwest with a passenger car or tractor-trailer and brings back a load, mostly composed of marijuana. Some ethnic groups import khat from Africa, a drug primarily consumed in Somali communities in Vermont, using package delivery services or couriers.

Colombian and Dominican traffickers also contribute to the supply, using street gangs for most retail sales. The growth of drug sales activity by street gangs and motorcycle gangs has meant an increase in violence as these groups compete for territory. More violence and crime results from addicts who need to finance their own habits.

Heroin Has Long Been a Problem in the Northeast

The channels to bring heroin into the Northeast have existed for several decades, with Boston and New York being the main points of supply. So every state in the Northeast has long experienced citizens with opiate addiction problems. The arrival of medical pain relievers such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet made more addictive substances available through medical practitioners. Opioids such as methadone and buprenorphine used in addiction treatment centers have further complicated matters.

The end result is that anyone with an opiate addiction has a variety of options. Young adults and teens may then indulge in prescription drugs at a party and then when they are addicted, switch to heroin, which is usually less expensive and may be more available.

Vermont Proximity to Canada Means Trafficking Across the Northern Border

marijuana plants

Canada is a source of potent hydroponic marijuana grown in British Columbia and MDMA, also known as Ecstasy. International smuggling channels previously brought MDMA in from Europe to Canada and then to the United States, but now Canadian drug traffickers have established manufacturing plants within Canada. Vermont’s border with Canada is remote and largely devoid of occupants, meaning that trafficking across that border was easy for many years. In the wake of terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, increased border security resulted in increased drug seizures in these remote rural areas. Unfortunately, the usual pattern for smugglers is that they adapt to the changing conditions and work out ways to avoid detection.

Asian drug trafficking organizations, the main groups cultivating hydroponic marijuana in Canada, have also branched out to establish indoor grows in nearly every region of the United States. Only a few indoor or outdoor grows have been seized in Vermont.

Young People Hit Hardest by Addiction in Vermont

According to federal statistics, more than 8000 people were admitted to publicly funded drug or alcohol treatment centers in Vermont in 2008. One in five was under twenty-one years of age.

Many more young people are putting themselves at risk of needing treatment for substance abuse. By the time Vermont youth graduate from high school, more than half of them have used marijuana at least once, a third within the last month. Nearly a quarter of them have abused a prescription drug at one time or another.

A survey from 2007 found that an estimated 34,000 people under twenty-one were using alcohol, and two-thirds of those were binge drinkers - that is, they were drinking five or more drinks in one sitting at least once a month. Some of these young people will add to the 53,000 people in Vermont who define themselves as suffering from alcohol or illicit drug dependence or abuse, and the 41,000 Vermont citizens who say they need but are not finding an addiction treatment facility for alcohol use that is beyond their control.

Opiates Present the Greatest Addiction Challenges in Vermont

In Vermont, alcohol, and opiates present the most frequent challenges to addiction treatment centers. Far more people need addiction treatment for opiates other than heroin than for heroin itself. These other opiates include methadone, morphine, codeine, OxyContin (oxycodone), hydrocodone, fentanyl, and buprenorphine.

As both methadone and buprenorphine, both used in addiction treatment facilities to prevent opiate withdrawal symptoms, have become drugs of abuse, this system of treatment shows its weakness. Far better is to make withdrawal tolerable with methods used in Narconon drug and alcohol treatment centers around the world. Narconon uses nutritional support, gentle re-orientation exercises and calming physical processes to help make opiate withdrawal tolerable, even mild for some people. By overcoming addiction without the use of further drugs, a person has a chance to face life without any drug use at all and to rebuild a healthy, drug-free life again.

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